This is the time of year when we all look forward to the new year full of opportunities, hoping to grasp one or two of them for ourselves. We make New Year’s resolutions again hoping to become something better than before. What are those opportunities we hope come our way? What are the resolutions we make to hopefully gain a new body, health, wealth, relationships, etc. What I didn’t realize until recently reading through my past journal entries for January 1st of each year, is that two years ago my resolution was not one filled with hope, quite the opposite.
My journal entry for New Year’s Day 2021 was this … “I can barely look at myself in the mirror. It disgusts me. I see myself as fat and ugly. Food has become everything to me. I binge 6 plus times a day on fast food, chocolate, pasta, cheese sauces, and the list goes on. I eat food off of other people’s plates and out of the trash. I sneak and steal food any chance I get. I can see many negative consequences of my eating habits – mainly weight gain, disgust at myself, difficulty with sex, looking & feeling like a pig when at a buffet, numerous body pains, breathing difficulties, I can’t walk more than a few feet and need to take several breaks walking up 1 flight of stairs in the house. I can’t put on my own shoes and my clothes don’t fit. Food makes me loathe myself. Food is killing me. My body and soul are both dying very quickly and I don’t know what to do about it. Not even OA is working, so is there any hope at all? I don’t think so. I’m just going to die. That’s what my new year will be, my death.”
As I type out my journal entry here tears are streaming down my face. I very vividly recall that moment sitting in my room writing out my discouragement and defeat. I had no hopes that year, no opportunities to grasp, nothing good to work towards. I recall thinking “Happy New Year! What’s so happy about it?”
The next day, on January 2, 2021 at 335 pounds and with a defeated heart, my husband and I had a consultation with Amanda at Shift. She identified with me. She shared that she too had been where I was, yet she was sitting across the screen with a smile on her face and very much alive. She gave me a glimpse of hope that I didn’t need to die. I knew I wanted to live, but didn’t know how. Through that zoom call, I started to want recovery more than anything else in my life. I was willing to go to any length for freedom. If Amanda told me that I would have hope by standing on my head, by gosh, I would have tried my best. I probably would have broken my neck, but what did I have to lose anyway. By the end of the call, I committed to enter the SHiFT food addiction treatment program. Maybe I could have a Happy New Year after all.
This began my earnest journey towards a new me. With renewed hope I set out to do everything that was suggested by my Shift team of counselors, accountability coaches, sponsor, and other recovering members. I balked often and grumbled under my breath, but I was not giving up this time. I did it all anyways. I learned what it truly means to be powerless over a disease and to surrender to a loving God. At first my surrender was to others’ suggestions. I
quickly understood that my surrender to others was really a surrender to God through them. I used all of the tools available to me to keep going, even when I didn’t want to. I wanted recovery like I saw from so many others at SHiFT. I wanted to live and now I was learning how. By the end of that first year I was living a new life. A life with significantly less weight to carry around. A life with friends and family who support me. A life with less work and more time for recovery. A life with more time for my health. A life with a loving God who never leaves my side. A life worth living. Happy New Me!
My New Year’s resolution this 2023 year is to continue to share my experience, strength, and hope in any way I can. I want for others the same hope and recovery that I received. I can’t help but shout from the rooftops what God has done for me. The program he has given me to heal my defeated heart and my wounded body. God has grown my desire to love and given me the courage to share myself with others, especially those who are hurting in this fatal disease of addiction. My hope and prayer is that you too may experience a Happy New You!
Happy New Year!